Discussion Question 2: Plutonogen

Is is possible to synthesize the element plutonogen? If not, what is the most “powerful element ever” not yet listed on the periodic table?

I have provided a chart that will hopefully help clarify last week’s question.

Too Much Information

11 thoughts on “Discussion Question 2: Plutonogen

  1. I think this is probably a question best answered by bear. But if there’s one thing Sapphire and Steel has taught us it’s that the transuranics are unstable.

    Of course you probably know that the “strong force” that binds the protons and neutrons in nuclei together competes with the “weak force” which causes them to tend to break apart. In lighter elements the strong force prevails and in heavier ones (especially those heaver than iron IIRC) the weak force starts to become more of an issue.

    At really high atomic weights weak force makes atoms inherently unstable. A bunch of very high atomic weights have been “synthesized”, but I sometimes wonder how long the thing has to stay together before you can really consider it to be “synthasized”.

    In some of his sci-fi books Poul Anderson (I believe it was) put forward the idea that there’s another plateau of stability for elements with atomic weights beyond those we can currently find or synthasize. In his stories (again IIRC) certain stellar processes (possibly supernovas) in the past produced these substances in rare and much sought after exploitable quantities.

    All fiction as far as I know though.

  2. As for the pie chart though:

    A red herring or some sort of logic puzzle?

    Normally a pie chart represents totality, with each slice of the pie representing a portion of the whole. Taking synergy into account the whole can be greater than the sum of it’s parts, but a whole that’s greater than the sum of it’s parts, and greater than it’s self? Beyond my meager mathmatical and reasoning skills.

  3. You might be right about it being a question for Timmy.

    The Poul Anderson stuff you mention is along the lines of what I was thinking. I like you don’t know too much about it. I think Bob Lazar claimed that alien tech could synthesize element 115. Though to be honest… I don’t know if the aliens synthesized or not… or that it even matters. Lazar says 115 is out there.

    Pie Chart – I just threw that up cause I thought it was funny. It was just a stock graph. I didn’t even change the name of Section 4. So yeah – a red herring.

  4. I have a couple comments:

    Element 115 has been synthesized, I think only a couple years ago. I guess that blows Bob Lazar out of the water…

    Dragon is essentially correct about the strong force, not that I’ve ever studied it. Look here for a quick explanation. Make sure to look at the graph. The binding energy/nucleon curve peaks at iron (and other isotopes with the same number of nucleons), meaning you can get energy out of fusion if you use things lighter than iron. You can get energy out of fission of you use things heavier than iron. That’s why I do research on fusion of hydrogen, while nuclear power plants use uranium, etc.

    An interesting point about fusion and stars. Stars typically start out as all hydrogen, which is fused into helium, etc. The star climbs up the periodic table until it hits iron, which is not fused because that would take energy instead of producing energy. That’s when stars quick working (when it gets to hard to fuse it’s fuel).

    Last point. Looking at the above mention chart, one can see that the curve is steeper for elements lighter than iron than it is for elements heavier than iron. In fission, an atom is split, giving you 2 smaller atoms. The difference between where you started on the curve (uranium) and where you end up (many locations, all heavier than iron) is the amount of energy out of the process. The same goes for fusion. For fusion, the proposed (simplest) reaction is deuterium and tritium (2 isotopes of hydrogen) into helium. The yield for fusion is much larger since the curve is so much steeper for hydrogen and helium. For a given mass of fuel, fusion gives you more energy (and remember, there is about 100 times more deuterium atoms in a given mass of fuel than there is in the same mass of uranium). Never mind that fusion needs more readily available elements than fission. Elements with lower atomic numbers are much more abundant than those with large atomic numbers.

    There’s some more semi-understandable reading on fusion at wikipedia.

  5. Djwebb – I think you are right about the aggregated diamond nanorods; they are more powerful – if for no other reason than they sound more powerful. I don’t think it would be too far of a stretch to say they sound mighty. Speaking of split infinitives, don’t aggregated diamond nanorods power the Enterprise?

  6. ARgg! No!

    Loki, like your namesake you’re just trying to get our goat aren’t you? frickin’ scandanavian goat thieves

    It’s common knowledge that the Enterprise is powered by matter-antimatter annilation, mediated by the substance “dilithium”.

    What dilithium consists of isn’t made very clear in the TV show, although I think one of the books suggests it’s like some mundane element but extending into other dimensions.

    Those aggregated diamond nanorods might come in handy for a bean stalk style space elevator though.

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